Even though the month of December brings shorter days we, the Registered Dietitians at Pure Nutrition Consulting, maintain our wellness goals throughout the holiday season, by practicing the healthy habits we share with our clients every day.
Enjoying our favourite holiday foods and traditions with family and friends is what we cherish the most. We also love to give gifts of delicious food and fill our wish lists with requests for new cookbooks and cooking gadgets.
For dietitian Jodi, involving her children in the festivities creates lasting memories.
Last Christmas my youngest son was inspired to make a Yule Log with his Grandma. Grandma’s patience combined with his desire to contribute to our Christmas dinner led to a great opportunity for him to practice his food skills and spend time with his grandparents.
For dietitian, Julie, the holidays bring wonderful memories of decorating, classic Christmas music, family get-togethers and Christmas baking.
Some of my favorite holiday baking includes my Mom’s delicious Nanaimo bars, Sugar cookies (these remind me of my childhood), and Magic bars. My Mom also makes her fabulous perogies and cabbage rolls this time of year.
One of the challenges about the holidays can be achieving balance and eating mindfully when there are so many delicious options everywhere! One tip that helps the Pure Nutrition Dietitians maintain their wellness goals during the holiday season is to allow themselves to thoroughly enjoy the foods that only come around this time of year, and perhaps pass on others that are available year-round. As Julie points out:
My Mom’s perogies and cabbage rolls make an appearance only a few times a year so I often pass on the mashed potatoes at Christmas dinner, in favour of savouring more of the special foods I enjoy so much.
Jodi recognizes the benefit of staying active to help her family achieve balance.
Over the winter holiday we join extended family and friends for a game of road hockey (typically on Christmas day), ice skating and walks at night to enjoy our neighbours’ Christmas lights.
Holiday traditions are a big part of Pure Nutrition Dietitians’ celebrations. Dietitian, Heather is grateful for her family and friends and cherishes her family’s annual tradition of new pajamas and a special ornament.
I am grateful for the time spent with family and friends. I enjoy showing my gratitude for others by providing homemade food items as gifts. My favourite to give is my mom’s top-secret Nuts & Bolt mix.
Julie’s holiday tradition also includes making treats for other.
Since becoming an adult and owning my own home, I have started a tradition of making Almond Roca every Christmas – a treat that my husband has quickly deemed one of his favorites. These Almond Roca squares also make fantastic gifts to give at Christmas, or for any holiday bake exchanges you may take part in! Below is the recipe I follow every year (it has yet to disappoint me!).
Shortcut Almond Roca
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 cup butter
¼ cup water
1 ¼ cups toasted slivered almonds
1 cup chocolate chips (* I use dark chocolate chips)
In a large heavy saucepan, gently boil syrup, sugar, butter and water until “hard crack” appears on candy thermometer (300oF). Do not stir. This step takes at least 20 minutes. *Keep a careful eye on the temperature as it nears 300 oF.
Remove from heat, add almonds and stir well. Spread on an ungreased cookie sheet and before candy is allowed to cool, sprinkle with chocolate chips. As they melt, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the candy. Cool in the fridge or freezer. Break into bite-sized pieces and hide some! Whatever you leave out disappears.
- This recipe does not double well.
- You need a candy thermometer for this recipe. They can be purchased for less than $10 at most stores.
Shortcut Almond Roca, from The Best of The Best and more, Volume 1. 1998.
Whatever this holiday season has in store for you remember to prioritize your wellness goals! Eat regularly, create a balanced plate and mindfully enjoy your meals with others.
Julie, Jodi & Heather
Pure Nutrition Consulting